How to Prepare Your Home for Winter Pests
In winter, our homes become an attractive place for pests including rodents, and insects. Pests like our homes for the same reasons we do: they’re warm, comfortable, and full of useful materials that sustain life. When winter comes, if your home isn’t properly prepared for these potential threats, you could be in for a winter-long struggle to keep pests out of your home.
Inspect Your Property
Inspect your property to find possible points of entry for rodents and insects. You’re looking for unsealed cracks around doorways and windows, as well as entry points into your attic. Any holes in your home, including attic vents and even doggy doors, could also be a potential point of entry for rodents and insects.
Look under doorways. Exterior door thresholds should be sealed so that mice and insects cannot enter. If you can see light underneath your exterior door, this is a potential point of entry. Your garage door should also be sealed. One of the first steps to prepare your home is to identify all potential weaknesses and make a list of issues to address.
Caulk, Seal, Weatherstrip
Caulking, sealing and weatherstripping is a great way to save energy and also a good way to prevent winter pests from entering your home. Use caulk to seal all cracks around doorways and windows. If the caulk from previous years is now cracked or compromised, remove the caulk and insert new.
Replace the rubber U-shaped gasket under your garage door if it is cracked or if there are gaps between the garage door and the garage floor. Replacing this gasket is relatively easy: simply open the door partway, slide the old gasket out through the side of the door, then insert the new gasket through the side of the door.
Weatherstripping needs to be re-done every few years, so if your home’s weatherstripping is more than two years old, replace it with new foam strips to seal cracks around windows and doors.
Watch for Signs of Winter Pests
Know the signs of winter pests and be on the alert for them. Insects and spiders often leave little evidence of themselves. However, mice and other rodents often leave obvious indications of their presence. Watch for:
- Feces. Small rice-shaped pellets in places like your garage, basement, or kitchen cabinets could be a sign of mice.
- Holes chewed through walls. Mice and rats will chew through drywall and some other building materials to gain convenient access to parts of your house.
- Nesting material. Rodents will gather materials like small pieces of fluff, string, and cloth to make warm nests. Nests can be found in dark places like cabinets and in storage areas under the stairs.
If you are experiencing rodent issues, consult the help of expert rodent removal and control services.
Secure Your Trash
Your trash cans will attract animals of all kinds, including rodents and raccoons. Securing your trash is one way to keep rodents out of your yard and away from your house. There are a variety of trash can locking mechanisms that can be purchased to lock your trash can lids while they’re in storage. Secure all your trash bags by tying them tightly, and never overfill your trash so that the lid will not fit snugly on the lid.
One more thing: take your trash out every night. Do not leave food trash sitting in garbage bins in your kitchen.
Secure Your Food Storage
Mice can chew through most materials that aren’t made of plastic or metal. They can easily eat through cardboard boxes that contain foods like cereal, crackers, and even tea leaves. Securing your food and storing it in containers that are mouse-proof can help make your house less accommodating for rodents. Remove food from boxes and bags and store the food in glass or plastic containers.
Clean Thoroughly, Clean Regularly
Crumbs on the floor at night can make your kitchen an inviting space for pests. Dirty dishes left in the sink can also be a problem. Clean your kitchen and dining room nightly to remove crumbs from the floor, clean the table and as mentioned previously, do the dishes and take out the trash.
Trash bins tend to collect food at the bottom of the bin, beneath the bag. Clean your kitchen trash bin in the yard regularly, especially if it develops an odor.
Clean the rest of your house weekly to keep crumbs off the floor. Teach your kids not to leave food on the floor in their rooms. Check under their beds and in dark corners, if they’re pre-disposed to stash food in their room.
If pests get their food from your kitchen cabinets and crumbs on the ground, they get their water from your plumbing leaks. Repairing plumbing leaks cuts off their water supply. Address all plumbing leaks quickly, and inspect your home regularly to find any new plumbing leaks as they develop.
Work With a Reliable Pest Control Company
The best way to prepare your home is to work with a pest control company that can provide ongoing treatments throughout the winter. If you struggled with pest control problems last winter, get on top of it this winter by signing up with a pest control company that will provide inspections, regular treatments, and activity monitoring services.
Call Ecotek today to make an appointment for a one-time pest control treatment or ongoing eco-friendly pest control treatments in Eastern Washington.